Jordan’s Court of Cassation, the country’s highest judicial body, has upheld an earlier decision by the Amman Court of Appeals not to hand over a Jordanian citizen wanted by the U.S.
A dual Palestinian-Jordanian citizen, Ahlam al-Tamimi was convicted by an Israeli court in 2001 of involvement in an attack in Jerusalem -- carried out by Hamas’ armed wing -- that killed two U.S. nationals and several Israelis.
The Court of Cassation's decision, which is final and cannot be appealed, came during a Monday court session, Jordan’s official Petra News Agency reported.
According to a local judicial source quoted by Petra, Jordan and the U.S. signed an extradition treaty in 1995 but it was never ratified by Jordan’s parliament.
The treaty is therefore “unenforceable”, said the source, who the news agency refrained from identifying.
“Extradition requests sent by foreign countries to the relevant authorities in Jordan cannot be accepted unless they are based on an enforceable [extradition] treaty or agreement,” the source was quoted as saying.
The U.S. Justice Department recently requested al-Tamimi’s extradition to the U.S. after the FBI put her at the top of its list of wanted "terrorists".
Al-Tamimi spent ten years in an Israeli prison after being slapped with a 16-year sentence for her role in the attack, in which 15 people were killed -- including the two U.S. citizens -- and more than 100 injured.
In 2011, the Israeli authorities handed al-Tamimi over to the Jordanian authorities as part of a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas.
A Palestinian who also carries Jordanian citizenship, al-Tamimi, was born in the Jordanian city of Zarqaa in 1980.
Hamas, for its part, welcomed Monday’s court decision, saying it confirmed “the Jordanian judiciary’s appreciation for the issue of [Palestinian] prisoners”.
"We appreciate Jordan's commendable position,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim told Anadolu Agency.
“We call upon the free people of the world to remember the Palestinian prisoners still languishing in Israeli jails," he added.
Reporting by Laith al-Junaidi; Writing by Ali Abo Rezeg